12 Best Ways To Keep Garage Cool In Summer

Try these these cost-effective garage cooling ideas to maintain pleasant temperatures inside your workshop during the summer months.

Disclosure: We may earn commissions at no cost to you from qualifying purchases made via the product links in this article.

At last, the long-awaited summer is here, with the great glorious sun beaming brightly amidst the clear blue skies ready to embrace and enliven everything in its warm embrace. If you are on holiday, it is the perfect time to have fun by the pool enjoying watermelon and ice cream.

But for those of us who still got some unfinished projects, summertime is the most unpleasant season to be in the garage. Temperatures tend to rise so high making it difficult to work in enclosed spaces. This is why you should find ways to keep the garage cool to avoid missing vital project deadlines.

As mentioned, during summer, temperatures outside soar very high. It gets even hotter by 5-10 degrees indoors than outside. These warm conditions make enclosed garages unbearable and can cause productivity to go down.

Most guys I have talked to whose garages are not properly cooled admit that they often take a couple of breaks between tasks to cool down. This often results in summer projects that are behind schedule.

But sometimes the discomfort of working in a sweltering workspace can impact badly the quality of work. This is why some folks install electric-powered cooling systems like ACs and fans to keep the garage cool. These easy fixes work but are counterproductive in the long run. I don’t recommend them if you want to keep the garage cool in the summer on a budget.

Why Are Electric Fans and ACs a Bad Idea for Garage Cooling?

Many garage owners mount ACs or cooling fans on the ceiling to cool the garage during summer. Although these garage cooling options work effectively, they are counterproductive because they keep temperatures low and electricity bills high.

In fact, most of the owners I have talked to who use electric fans and ACs complain about their electricity bills soaring just as high as the outside temperatures in the summer.

That is why I have decided to find some more friendly garage cooling solutions that can keep both the temperatures in the garage and electricity bills low during summer. This is so that you can have a breeze while completing those critical summer projects.

But the best solutions start with understanding why your garage gets unusually hot during the summer season.

Reasons Why Garage Is Warmer Than Outside In Summer

Before we delve into the budget garage cooling options, let’s first find out some of the reasons why your garage can become 5-10 degrees warmer than the outside during summer. Or in other words, what can make summers unbearable inside your garage?

1. Position/location of the garage

Garages that face west relative to the compass are exposed to intense heat in the afternoon. Conversely, those that face east get direct sun rays in the morning.

For this reason, it is best to build your garage facing the north-south direction.

2. Garage paint colors

Garage walls that have been painted in dull colors conduct more heat than the ones with bright colors. So, when choosing the color for your garage walls and roof, it is good to keep the science of colors in mind.

3. Ventilation

The presence or absence of a ventilation system in your garage can determine how easy it is to control the temperature in your garage.

If your garage is not ventilated, warm air will be trapped inside and the garage can become an oven during the hot seasons.

4. Vehicle parking

Most home garages serve two purposes: a workshop and a parking spaces for cars. If you park your car inside the garage immediately after a long trip, the ambient temperature may rise as the engine cools. This may make working in the garage quite unbearable. It is like staying in the car on a hot sunny day with the windows rolled up and AC off.

12 Cost Effective Ways to Keep Garage Cool During Summer

The best way to keep your garage cool depends mostly on your budget, environment, and the design of your garage. It also depends on your willingness to try various garage cooling ideas.

woodworking garage workshop

The following are some of the best budget garage cooling options that will help keep your garage cooler during summer without increasing your electricity bill.

1. Park your car outside after a drive

On a hot summer day, it is good to leave your car outside for a while after a drive. This allows the car to cool without transferring the heat from the engine to the garage, making it unbearable to work inside. Once the car has cooled, remember to move it inside for security reasons.

2. Use bright paint colors

Light colors reflect heat and dark colors absorb heat. So, painting your garage dark will make it absorb heat while bright colors will reflect the heat away, keeping the garage cool.

Therefore, it is advisable to paint the interior and exterior of your garage with bright colors to facilitate heat reflection. I recommend white, beige, or grey garage paint colors because they also have a brightening effect. These paint colors will keep the garage cooler and brighter than dull colors such as black would.

3. Ventilate naturally

Do you keep your garage doors and windows open to enable the circulation of air? This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep your garage cool in summer without incurring any extra costs.

Opening the doors and windows allows air to circulate easily. It also eliminates bad smells and makes the garage less stuffy.

You can enhance air circulation by putting a wind-propelled fan in the garage.

However, if your garage is attached to the main house, keep the door that leads to the main house locked so that toxic smells won’t get to the main house.

4. Wind-driven roof exhaust fan / turbine vent

If your garage does not have windows or you want to increase the circulation of air inside, you can install a ceiling fan. But because we want to cool the garage on a budget, you can replace the ceiling fan with a wind-driven roof exhaust fan.

roof exhaust turbine fan vent
Lomanco Whirlybird Roof Exhaust Turbine Fan Vent

A wind-driven roof exhaust fan is a great way to expel hot air and humidity from the garage. It is driven by the wind that blows over the roof, so it does not add any costs to your utility bill.

The only limitation of a wind-driven roof exhaust fan is that it only works for the garage in the attic space. It is not a plausible option if your garage is in the basement.

5. Upgrade the insulation

Garages are usually not well insulated, that’s why they can get extra hot during the summer and extremely cold during winter. Insulating your garage will help in maintaining the temperatures at any time of the year.

Wall insulation – most of the cool air in your garage escapes through the walls. You can insulate the walls by adding foam. It will keep the cool air inside and no air will be lost to the outside.

Tin foil or aluminum foil insulation is also another common insulation method. Since its invention by Professor Ernst Schmidt and Dr. Edward Dyckerhoff in 1925, aluminum foil has found many uses in the field of heat insulation (Solberg, & Sinclair, 2009). You can use it to line the inside of the wall and roof with the shiny inside out. This creates a good thermal barrier that will keep your shed cool in the summer until later afternoon.

Ceiling insulation– insulate your ceiling with foam so as to prevent any cool air from escaping through the roof.

Door insulation – A wooden door for a garage is highly recommended since wood is a natural insulator. Alternatively, you can use polystyrene or polyurethane garage doors. They are also good insulators.

Weather stripping – This involves adding silicone, tubular rubber or vinyl to your garage door or any other outlets to strip any openings and hence ensure you achieve maximum insulation.

6. Roof vent to allow air into garage

According to science, warm air is denser than cool air and will tend to rise. Therefore, having a roof vent in your garage will create an escape route for warm air so that it does not remain trapped in the garage. This will, in turn, enable cold/cool air to enter the garage hence cooling things down.

7. Declutter your garage to enhance circulation

Always ensure that your garage is well arranged and organized. Boxes and tools all over the garage obstruct the free flow of air into and from the garage, hence poor air quality.

tool chest and pegboard

Therefore it is good practice to keep your garage organized at all times. This also helps to reduce accidents in the workshop.

You can use tool organizers such as a tool chest with multiple drawers to organize and store most of your tools. A pegboard is also good for organizing tools on the wall.

8. Choose your working hours appropriately

What hours are you usually in your garage? The sunny afternoon or the cool mornings? Always ensure that you have opened the doors and windows a few minutes/hours before you start working so as to release the trapped air.

Furthermore, working during the cool morning hours, say up to 11 am, goes a long way in ensuring that you are working in a cool garage environment. As such you can schedule the most taxing jobs in the morning.

As for the unusually hot summer afternoons, you can schedule the light tasks or avoid the garage altogether and return at maybe 4 pm.

9. Plant trees around your garage

Having trees around your garage will provide shade so the sun rays don’t get directly in your garage during the hot days. The trees will also provide cool air which will keep your garage cool.

10. Dust collection to enhance air flow

Maximum airflow is key to keeping your workshop cool. You need to keep the air as clean as possible by using different dust collection mechanisms for your tools.

For example, if your work involves cutting and grinding material, you need a dust collection set up to take away the debris in order to enhance airflow.

You also need to ensure that your dust collection systems are in good working order to suction dust more effectively. Proper dust collection in the workshop also keeps your lungs healthy.

11. Dehumidifier to keep garage cool

In areas of high humidity, a dehumidifier can save the day by reducing the moisture content in your garage. This keeps the temperatures moderate thereby cooling down the garage.

Dehumidifying also prevents tools from rusting thus extending their life. Unlike the last 10 cooling ideas I have shared, a dehumidifier uses electricity and might slightly increase energy costs in your garage.

However, the cost of operating a dehumidifier is nothing close to running an AC or replacing rusty tools.

12. Swamp cooler/ evaporative cooler

swamp cooler
Hessaire Portable Evaporative Cooling Fan

Swamp coolers use the natural power of evaporation to cool indoor and outdoor space. They pull in hot and dry air through a moistened pad. The pad absorbs heat causing the moisture in it to evaporate.

As a result, a cool breeze is produced that is capable of humidifying air by up to 20 degrees F. This cool air is recirculated back to your garage space, making it possible to work even on a hot summer evening.

Although swamp coolers are powered by electricity, they use less power and are generally more effective than traditional ACs.

Given that they use a more natural cooling mechanism, an evaporative cooler typically uses a tenth of what a traditional AC would use. It is also easy to use since no installation is needed. You can take it anywhere there is an electric plug.

So, if your garage space does not give you a lot of cooling options, a swamp cooler can be a good alternative to traditional air conditioners.


And there you have it! That is how to keep a garage cool in summer on zero budget or at a comparatively low budget.

Solberg, T. A., & Sinclair., W. P. (2009). Aluminum heat insulation. Journal of the American Society for Naval Engineers, 44(2), 200–205. doi:10.1111/j.1559-3584.1932.tb05065.x


Hey there! I am an field electrical engineer by day, a blogger by night, and DIYer on weekends. Throughout my career, I have used many tools and learned that getting the right tool for the job is the first step to getting the job done right. This is why I write about tools and tests/reviews them on this blog.